Crusty L98-powered HT Holden wagon sleeper

940hp of turbo LS lurks under the skin of this crusty HT Belmont wagon

Photographers: Steve Kelly

Mates can be the worst influence when it comes to buying and building cars, as Michael ‘Mick’ MacGregor quickly learned when he started LS-swapping this tradie-spec HT wagon. “I have a mate with a turbo-LS CV8 Monaro, and he twisted my arm to make it what it is now,” he says. “Originally, I just wanted a cruiser!”

First published in the May 2024 issue of Street Machine

The Queenslander found the wagon in Victoria, buying it sight-unseen from a Gumtree listing. “I called the guy, took his word for it, and had it shipped up,” Mick says. “I’d always wanted a long-roof; I love the wagons.” He cruised it around for a bit with the 186, before a dead battery cable triggered the whole conversion process. “It died one night at a mate’s house, so I found the LS online later that night and bought it,” he says.

Although he’d owned a few old Holdens in his youth, the HT was Mick’s first go at a full-on car build. “I did a lot of stuff after-hours in the driveway, using basic tools from my carpentry kit,” he says. “We did re-do a few things during the build; the poor man pays twice, as they say!”

The 6.0-litre L98 stayed largely standard, keeping the stock bottom-end and heads. It copped some basic upgrades like a boost-specific camshaft from Brian Tooley, a Melling oil pump, valvetrain upgrades and a FAST LSXR manifold, but there’s nothing crazy inside.

A custom exhaust feeds a Proboost SXE-S480 turbo, with a Haltech Nexus R5 VCU and E85 fuel to keep a lid on the madness. Running 20psi (about as much as an alloy-block LS can reliably take), the wagon chucked out 940hp to the hubs through the Powerglide ’box and nine-inch diff.

“It’s a pretty wild thing, but I love cruising in it, just like I always wanted,” Mick says. “I’ll take the dogs to the beach in it, do runs to get milk and all that – it drives great.” The car has also seen its fair share of drag racing events, with Mick keen to take on our own Street Machine Drag Challenge one day. “I’d love to get down there for the five-day one; we’ve done The Road Trip here a few times,” he says. “It also came second in its class at the no-prep Oz Torque event at Kooralbyn Airport – I love no-prep stuff as well.”

“I did a lot of stuff after-hours in the driveway, using basic tools from my carpentry kit”

As of writing, the wagon’s done several 6.0-second passes to the eighth, but Mick has much bigger plans than that. “The engine just ate a lifter, so while Swifty’s Race Engines was fixing that, we threw in some forged rods and pistons,” he says. “We reckon the factory crank is good for around 1100hp, so with the new turbo, now the goal is to max that out and go for eights [over the quarter].”

That’ll be a mission on 255s and simple Caltrac-fitted rear suspension, but if Queenslanders know anything, it’s how to be quick on a small tyre. “There are guys here doing it on 235s, so I’m happy to stick with a smaller tyre and see how we go,” Mick says.

Oh, and if you’re not a fan of the look, then stay angry – Mick has no plans to refresh the Kashmir White duco any time soon. “I love the patina look; so I always wanted to keep that,” he grins. “The sleeper part is the best bit to me!”


Paint:Kashmir White
Brand:GM L98 6.0l
Induction:FAST LSXR 102mm manifold
VCU:Haltech Nexus R5
Turbo:Proboost SXE-S480
Camshaft:Brian Tooley Stage 4 Turbo
Oil pump:Melling
Fuel system:1650cc injectors
Cooling:PWR radiator
Gearbox:Geartorque Powerglide
Diff:9in, Truetrac, 3.25 gears
Rims:BCI steel; 15×4.5 (f), 15×8.5 (r)
Rubber:Nankang 165/80R15 (f), PSR 255/60R15 (r)

My mate Costa; Adam at Genwired; Dan at Fab Lab; Matt Ashley; Jamie at Swifty’s Race Engines; Suspension Dynamics; Tony at Geartorque; Mako Motorsports; Haltech; Castlameine Rod Shop; MNX Fabrication; Race Car Engineering; Parts for Hot Rods; Motor Fab; Proboost Racing Performance Parts; my wife and my kids.